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Jen23514

My version of the 1-2punch, invoking the FCRA and FDCPA

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warning..... this might get long... but I've been stewing on this for two weeks or more. :lol:

 

This is regarding a 1-2 punch where the CA is reporting to the CRAs, usually before sending me anything. I always dispute with the CRA first (if the CA has not sent me anything or called) and if it comes back verified, then I go on and use variations of the following letters.

 

Lately, there is a lot of discussion of what goes into a dispute, and I believe there is no single magical bullet.

 

Some like the long DV with the kitchen sink (as I call it) and some like the 3 line DV (the one I used to advocate). As time on the board has gone by, my POV has changed regarding what I put in my DV. I've witness some good debates and participated in a couple, and done more research done on my part....... my DV currently looks dramatically different than it did 1 year ago and certainly 3.

 

I keep a USB drive with ALL my disputes and I have to say, some of the older ones, I'm embarassed I sent and probably posted somewhere here on this board! :rofl: Hopefully, this will be a keeper, but I reserve the right to morph my method of attack at any time. :lol:

 

The change in my DV came directly from reading the FCRA section 623 - Responsibilities of furnishers of information to CRAs [15 USC 1681s-2] (read HERE!!!! ). This section of the FCRA prohibits information furnishers from providing information to a consumer reporting agency (CRA) that they know is inaccurate.

 

Under the FCRA, there's two kinds of disputes initiated by a consumer, through the CRA directly which triggers one set of requirements initially and through the furnisher directly which triggers another set. Each have their jobs to do and each has it's own guidelines. It took me reading the FCRA many, many, many times to understand each (this is why I advocate printing out the FCRA and FDCPA and get to studying with a pen and highlighter).

 

Basically, a dispute under the FDCPA asks the CA to prove the debt is valid. A dispute under the FCRA is when you are asking for verification of what they are reporting. In the scenario I laid out, the CA is bound by the FDCPA and the FCRA, as a data furnisher. The FCRA is very specific on how a consumer should do this and the responsibilities of the data furnisher (DF).

 

 

This is a RL example from December of a variation (none of my DVs are exactly alike anymore) of a DV (part 1 of the punch).

December 5, 2007

 

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED # 7x

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am in receipt of a recent credit report showing an entry by your company for account #xxx. I have not received any correspondence from your company regarding this alleged debt. This letter serves as initial communication. This letter was a timely dispute of this alleged debt, therefore I demand all collection activity cease immediately.

 

This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice that your claim is disputed in full. .

 

More specifically, I am disputing the reporting of the following items to the credit reporting agencies:

* The amount of $xxx.xx is due your company

* that this alleged debt is payable to you

*the date of last activity reported by your company

*that this account is considered a factoring account

* that you have the right to report lates on 6/07, 7/07, 8/07, 9/07,10/07 and 11/07.

* I was never late to you on the above-mentioned dates.

 

As a data furnisher to credit reporting agencies, {CA} has an obligation to report and provide accurate information. The specific items disputed above (as notated by bullet points) are not accurate and I dispute your reporting of this information as allowed under 15USC1681s-2(8)(D). If you update this information as correct with the credit bureaus, I request that the supporting documentation be forwarded to me.

 

In each of the line items above, {CA} is making false representation of this alleged debt, as defined in 15USC 1692e(2)(A).

 

Please send proof of the accuracy dispute items above and a full validation as intended by the FDCPA . If proof of this debt can not be obtained and forwarded, I will assume there is no proof and will consider this matter with your company closed and expect removal of notations of this account to any and all credit reporting agencies to which you are currently reporting, as required by all disputes under the FCRA and FDCPA.

 

It is inconvenient for you to contact me any time by phone, please direct all correspondence to me via mail.

 

Sincerely,

ME

(in rereading this, my wording is choppy, but it's a direct c/p for example purposes)

 

As you can tell, my DVs include an explanation of why/how they were reporting wrong since after verifying the first time (after my general dispute to the CRAs) they obviously didn't know that they were reporting wrong :blink: When I've disputed this way, they usually fall off quickly. There have been a few exceptions, but considering how many baddies I started with, I consider this method a success.

 

 

Then when I dispute with the CRAs (part 2 of the punch), I make sure that I am disputing the same bulleted items from above (in the dispute to the CA).

 

The reason? Not only did I notify them of their specific errors in a dispute to them (the CA), but then the CRAs are supposed to inform them I am disputing the same items. If they verify and continue report (in this example as a factoring company), then I believe it makes it more credible as "willful negligence" and there can not be a bona fide error.

 

 

Sometimes they fall off 2 of the 3 reports (darn you Experian!!).... if they do, then I use a variation of this letter by Sassy:

 

Dear DF,

 

You were notified of my dispute of your information on account # by CRA1. As a result of that dispute, the information was deleted from that report.

 

As a furnisher of information, at the time of that investigation, you were also required to remove the same information from ALL other CRA's that you reported to.

 

You failed to properly complete your investigation and provide the results to each of the CRA's you report to. This is a violation of FCRA, Section 623, Responsibilities of Furnishers of Information.

 

I am not requesting a new investigation, I am requesting deletion of the information from CRA2 and CRA3 as you were required and failed to do.

 

To cure these violations, please have the TL removed from CRA2 and CRA3 within 10 days of receipt of this letter.

 

Sincerely,

 

I know it's sometimes a pain to send off letters, but here is a good reason to, especially when dealing with DFs (whether it's an OC or a CA):

 

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/07/030710fcratestsenate.htm

25. In practice, furnishers sometimes investigate disputes received directly from consumers because they are required in some circumstances not to report, and to correct, inaccurate information. See FCRA �� 623 (a)(1) and (2). But furnishers have no affirmative obligation to investigate these disputes. Thus, if a consumer contacts the creditor only by telephone to dispute, and the creditor previously supplied to the consumer an address to submit disputes, it is not liable under FCRA Section 623(a)(1) for continuing to report this information, even if it is inaccurate.

 

 

 

Overall...... my DVs have changed dramatically. I used to be a 3-liner, invoking only a FDCPA dispute. My argument? That they knew their obligations, and I don't have to lay it out for them.

 

Today, I still am not laying out what is considered validation (which is legally a gray area) for them, but what I am doing though is making it clear to the CA/DF that I know my rights and will proactively protect them. So now, I make sure I fully utilize the protection laid out under the FCRA AND the FDCPA (but please, please, please check your state laws first as they may hold your greatest protection!).

 

I also feel that this method provides a clear and concise paper trail. If I do decide to sue later, whether it be the CA or the CRA, I feel that my disputes were specific in their nature (xx and xx and xx are wrong) and specific in my requests (please delete within 10 days, etc).

 

Before you get sue-happy, read the part in the FCRA where it explains that a consumer cannot sue to enforce section 623(a). Enforcement of this section is specific to the named governmental bodies. However, a consumer can sue to enforce section 623( b ) which has a relationship with the (a) provisions. COnfused? It's ok, I still am not 100% clear. ;)

 

 

So, when a CA pops up on my credit report (and have no received prior communication from the CA), I:

 

1) Dispute with the CRAs first

 

2) if verified, send out a 1-2 punch as outlined above, disputing both under FDCPA and FCRA

 

3) if a deletion comes back on 1 or 2 of the 3 CRAs, follow up with the DF with letter from above (thx sassy)

 

4) In the meantime, get to know your state laws.... if you have to escalate this to letters to the state AG, then this will be helpful to know.... do they need to be bonded? If you find out the CA is licensed properly(if required), then find out if there is a CA regulating board in that state or your state.

 

5) send out a second 1-2 punch if necessary..... usually this is an almost-ITS letter to both the CRA and the CA/DF what their violations are. My DV#2 includes dates, cmrr#s, specific violations, etc.

 

 

Another reason I keep my letters specific and serious..... PsychDoc once said:

A litigious mindset requires that you act professionally, seriously, deliberately, and assertively. Your actions are an attempt to protect your civil rights, which is no laughing matter.
I take those rights seriously and I will not have them trampled on by a bottom-feeding organization. These companies have cause me enough tears and sleepless nights I no longer am namby pamby about how I attack them, especially on hot-topics with me, such as SOL debts (sometimes 10 years or more).

 

per the FTC, what are the responsibilities of the data furnisher?

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2004/11/041119factaappg.pdf

 

FCRA links in full :

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/usc..._41_20_III.html

 

complete post by psych doc on attacking credit repair with a litigious mindset:

http://consumers.creditnet.com/Discussions...dset-34965.html

 

and if you haven't read it yet (or in awhile).... psych doc's seminars are a good periodic read and should be your bible on how to attack your credit report problems.

 

/musings.

 

attack away :P

 

 

 

ETA for clarification: the original 1-2punch for for attacking CAs within 30 days of their first communication/letter to you. I do not mean for this to replace or even expand on that original post.... what I meant by 1-2punch was attacking the CA and the CRA at the same time causing the CA to violate more.

Edited by Jen23514

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One thing I wanted to add..... I am not sure this is 100% accurate, but is my thinking.....

 

the reason in my dispute I tell the CA that this is considered the first communication, is that I am hoping to preserve some of the rights of disputing within 30 days. Also there is the 5 day rule in the FDCPA..... so just trying to cover my butt B)

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Ya know, I don't think I ever really put that much thought into my disputes. Of course, that could be why you've had much better success than me. B)

 

Good insight, though, and should prompt some good discussion.

Edited by Fallon

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Ya know, I don't think I ever really put that much thought into my disputes. Of course, that could be why you've had much better success than me. :lol:

 

B)

 

I'm sure pryan will be by shortly to tell me why I'm wrong :P and that's ok...... I'm up for a good debate today. :lol:

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First of all, please accept my standing applause. I agree with most of the elements. The biggest point is also a subtle one: understand both the FDCPA and the FCRA. It took me about a month of banging my head on concrete to figure that simple principle out. To the newbies: yes, I literally printed them out.

 

So, I cannot but agree with the specific nature of each letter. The only part I would poke at is the detail. I just find it goes against my nature to provide any "help" to CAs, even though "help" is not really what is happening here, and the result can be very beneficial.

 

One key discussion point, particularly for newbies, when discussing this approach is to ask a candid question: what is reasonable validation? Is the quest for validation an optional extra attack, or one to be avoided? For the record, I think some folks place unreasonable requirements on what they would accept as validation.

 

Another question, Jen: in terms of success, how many have been ignored?

 

Overall, I take my hat off to you. Thank you for this.

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Jen;

 

THANK YOU for taking the time to post this information! You're another great resource and I for one, appreciate the energy and effort you and all the CB veterans contribute. :D

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Jen... once again I love you :D

 

but of course ... the question comes - what if we already sent the short and sweet ones... I like your approach and in my mind KNEW what I wanted but didn't know enough to put it on paper... it makes sense again now lol

 

But with that being said, I have already sent out at least 12 of the short ones, would this be appropriate for a 2nd DV since obviously at least 9 of them have not provided validation LOL

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So, I cannot but agree with the specific nature of each letter. The only part I would poke at is the detail. I just find it goes against my nature to provide any "help" to CAs, even though "help" is not really what is happening here, and the result can be very beneficial.

 

One key discussion point, particularly for newbies, when discussing this approach is to ask a candid question: what is reasonable validation? Is the quest for validation an optional extra attack, or one to be avoided? For the record, I think some folks place unreasonable requirements on what they would accept as validation.

 

There are two parts to the letter, the FDCPA dispute and the FCRA portion.

 

First the FDCPA. That is invoked simply by saying, "I dispute this debt in its entirety per the FDCPA". Upon reading the FDCPA, you'll notice it gives very little guidelines as to what is validation (in fact, I don't believe it ever uses that word) and what is "proof". A loose standard I use is : what would a judge find reasonable as proof? They have been court cases that have addressed this issue, but I have yet to see a list that says X, Y, and Z is clear evidence of proof. In fact, what most of those cases have provided is what is NOT validation (ie. computer printout from CA).

 

Also, the things I list out are not a list of their burden of proof for validation, but a clear record of how they are reporting wrong... which brings me to the second part.......

 

The FCRA dispute.

 

... in part of 623.....

section (8) Ability of consumer to dispute information directly with furnisher

(D) Submitting a notice of dispute

A consumer who seeks to dispute the accuracy of information shall provide a dispute notice directly to such person at the address specified by the person for such notices that—

(i) identifies the specific information that is being disputed;

(ii) explains the basis for the dispute; and

(iii) includes all supporting documentation required by the furnisher to substantiate the basis of the dispute.

 

I read the italicized part to read, "tell us specifically what you are disputing". I also think by giving them a line by line issue of what is wrong, they must address each issue. The FCRA has no allowances for reporting a partially correct TL.

 

If I can't get them to delete because they can't validate, then I will certainly try to get to them to delete on the grounds they are improperly reporting.

 

 

 

Another question, Jen: in terms of success, how many have been ignored?

 

hmmmmm...... I would say a small minority... They usually don't respond to me, but I find they suddenly one day cease reporting. Or my dispute comes out in my favor with the CRA.

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But with that being said, I have already sent out at least 12 of the short ones, would this be appropriate for a 2nd DV since obviously at least 9 of them have not provided validation LOL

 

absolutely!

 

short DV#1 has gotten rid of a lot of CAs for me as well. DV#2 was always sticky for me.

 

If you've 1-2 punched them (already disputed with CRAs) and they have verified. Then read up on their responsibilities as a data furnisher and attack them.

 

Let them know that

1) they STILL haven't provided validation as intended by the FDCPA and you feel whatever they sent you (if anything) is lacking

and

2) not only can they not prove the debt is yours, but they are reporting erroneous information and smack them as a DF

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So, I cannot but agree with the specific nature of each letter. The only part I would poke at is the detail. I just find it goes against my nature to provide any "help" to CAs, even though "help" is not really what is happening here, and the result can be very beneficial.

for people who feel strongly about it.... then save this method for a DV#2 (as discussed w clambert).... send the simple short and sweet DV#1 with a dispute to the CRAs and see how it pans out.

 

There is also a strong argument from acting from the side of the "least sophisticated consumer" standard :)

 

 

Hell, I could argue both sides all day long and be happy :)

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The great thing about attacking as a DF is that it encompasses OCs as well and even though they can't be smacked with the FDCPA they can be upheld to the rules of the FCRA and correct reporting. Thanks for the new view on this, i think i have some letter re-writes to do.

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Jen, in your first post is one of the most cogent pieces of comment that people tend to forget...and while I know you were injecting some humor, people forget that letters need to be a constantly evolving process. What was good five years ago sucked three years ago in most instances and even the revisions then to make the letter viable would not be recommended today...as a result, the person looking to effect PROMPT resolution needs to realize that there is not a cookie-cutter approach and that constant morphing is a NECESSITY in order for the letters to be EFFECTIVE.

 

I don't like sending more than one letter if it can be helped. I have no qualms about unloading with both barrels in the first letter (those that read the Texas threads know what I am referring to) but even the letters I used are re-worked if I help someone today. It is not worth my time to try and engage in a back-and-forth battle of correspondence...my time is more valuable than that. If I can get things done inside of a half-hour of time, including the phone call and fax, then I am money ahead at that point in time and I can commence to hitting happy hour that much sooner...

 

Does it entail a greater detail than most around here subscribe to? Hell yes. However, it also leaves the recipient with no doubt that they will have a battle on their hands if I decide to walk the few blocks to the Clerk's office and ultimately pay a filing fee. The issue of bona fide error is completely destroyed in the initial letter because they are placed on notice of what the specific problem is and why it must be deleted, and oh by the way, be prepared to pay me $XXX.YY if we move to litigation. The matter disappears VERY QUICKLY.

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TY Centex. That is why I gave up on the 3-liner..... by immediately addressing any and all issues (which there are usually several), I feel there has been an increase in my desired responses from CAs and a decrease in how many times I have to correspond to get the desired result.

 

That letter was just written in Dec, and in rereading it, I would never send out that letter today. I can think of several things to change, from laws listed to grammar to order of dispute.

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One thing I wanted to add..... I am not sure this is 100% accurate, but is my thinking.....

 

the reason in my dispute I tell the CA that this is considered the first communication, is that I am hoping to preserve some of the rights of disputing within 30 days. Also there is the 5 day rule in the FDCPA..... so just trying to cover my butt :rofl:

 

EXACTLY...

 

it gives them the opportunity to refute your statements about it being the initial communication....absent them disputing that...you can show in court if necessary that it was the first...since they didn't dispute that...

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Ya know, I don't think I ever really put that much thought into my disputes. Of course, that could be why you've had much better success than me. :D

 

:rofl:

 

I'm sure pryan will be by shortly to tell me why I'm wrong :beee: and that's ok...... I'm up for a good debate today. :)

 

 

Actually....you're NOT wrong...

 

while I AM a big fan of the short letters...one of the reasons I suggest them for many people is because a lot of them won't bother learning the basics...much less the advanced information which you presented so well in this thread....

 

 

but for those that DO want to learn exactly WHY things are the way they are...and why certain things are suggested...this is perhaps the BEST thread I've ever read on the subject....

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Ya know, I don't think I ever really put that much thought into my disputes. Of course, that could be why you've had much better success than me. :beee:

 

:rofl:

 

I'm sure pryan will be by shortly to tell me why I'm wrong :P and that's ok...... I'm up for a good debate today. :)

 

 

Actually....you're NOT wrong...

 

while I AM a big fan of the short letters...one of the reasons I suggest them for many people is because a lot of them won't bother learning the basics...much less the advanced information which you presented so well in this thread....

 

 

but for those that DO want to learn exactly WHY things are the way they are...and why certain things are suggested...this is perhaps the BEST thread I've ever read on the subject....

 

totally agree... I did the short ones for my 1st.. because (if you guys remember) my light bulb had not clicked yet... now it has and this thread makes perfect sense... however a month ago.. it would have let me reeling and not knowing what I was doing...

 

Now that I know... I can proceed.... :D

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Thanks for the post, Jen. It makes things a little more clearer now, but I have a question. The FCRA does not have a 30 day 'time frame' for when disputes have to be initiated, correct? If that's the case, then the CAs have to validate or investigate the alleged debt if you invoke your FCRA rights in the dispute, right?

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Thanks for the post, Jen. It makes things a little more clearer now, but I have a question. The FCRA does not have a 30 day 'time frame' for when disputes have to be initiated, correct? If that's the case, then the CAs have to validate or investigate the alleged debt if you invoke your FCRA rights in the dispute, right?

 

I hope I"m reading your question right, so double check my answer and make sure I am not answering what I think you asked. :angel:

 

The greatest protection of right in the FDCPA is within the first 30 days of contact. The FCRA does not have an equivalent for the protection of rights, but it does have a time frame to investigate the dispute.

 

(:rofl: Duties of furnishers of information upon notice of dispute

(2) Deadline

A person shall complete all investigations, reviews, and reports required under paragraph (1) regarding information provided by the person to a consumer reporting agency, before the expiration of the period under section 1681i (a)(1) of this title within which the consumer reporting agency is required to complete actions required by that section regarding that information.

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Thanks for the post, Jen. It makes things a little more clearer now, but I have a question. The FCRA does not have a 30 day 'time frame' for when disputes have to be initiated, correct? If that's the case, then the CAs have to validate or investigate the alleged debt if you invoke your FCRA rights in the dispute, right?

 

actually, there IS a time frame

 

 

(E) Duty of person after receiving notice of dispute. After receiving a notice of

dispute from a consumer pursuant to subparagraph (D), the person that

provided the information in dispute to a consumer reporting agency shall--

(i) conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information;

(ii) review all relevant information provided by the consumer with the notice;

July 30, 2004 73

(iii) complete such person's investigation of the dispute and report the

results of the investigation to the consumer before the expiration of the

period under section 611(a)(1) within which a consumer reporting

agency would be required to complete its action if the consumer had

elected to dispute the information under that section; and

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ya beat me to it Jen *LOL*

 

you gave more info ;)

 

 

Honestly..... my first 6 (12?) months here, NONE of this would have made sense. You really do have to wait for the lightbulb moment.

 

I can not stress enough that the quickest way to do that is to print out (sorry trees) the FDCPA and FCRA and sit down and READ. There are quite a few threads from 2003ish that really tackle many of the sections around here, you just have to search. If you don't find it, I would love people to post which section they are struggling with or FTC opinion or whatever.

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ya I had the click then I printed... but I did save some trees and printed front and back :P

 

i'm not that smart ;)

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Thanks for the post, Jen. It makes things a little more clearer now, but I have a question. The FCRA does not have a 30 day 'time frame' for when disputes have to be initiated, correct? If that's the case, then the CAs have to validate or investigate the alleged debt if you invoke your FCRA rights in the dispute, right?

 

I hope I"m reading your question right, so double check my answer and make sure I am not answering what I think you asked. :P

 

The greatest protection of right in the FDCPA is within the first 30 days of contact. The FCRA does not have an equivalent for the protection of rights, but it does have a time frame to investigate the dispute.

 

(:angry: Duties of furnishers of information upon notice of dispute

(2) Deadline

A person shall complete all investigations, reviews, and reports required under paragraph (1) regarding information provided by the person to a consumer reporting agency, before the expiration of the period under section 1681i (a)(1) of this title within which the consumer reporting agency is required to complete actions required by that section regarding that information.

 

I don't think I asked the question correctly. ;) I meant to ask that under the FCRA the consumer can dispute any portion of the debt at any time and it has to addressed, correct? Whereas the FDCPA limits that to within 30 days of initial communication from the CA. (If I understand this all correctly...and that's a big IF)

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